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The solid immersion lens (SIL) near-field magneto-optical (MO) recording technique offers a significant increase in areal density through near-field resolution enhancement. Since the near-field recording scheme requires close proximity of the optical recording head and the magnetic medium, the SIL MO recording setup is usually changed to a “first surface” recording. This requires further optimization of the optical flying head design and a MO medium. In this work marks as small as 150 nm using a SIL with a 680 nm laser source and a TbFeCo magneto-optical medium were recorded. The minimum size of a recorded mark is strongly dependent on the slider flying height, the flying attitude, and lens centering. It should be emphasized that recording power as small as 4 mW is sufficient enough to achieve carrier-to-noise ratio of more than 30 dB. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.